Regardless if your child participates in school sporting activities in the fall or not, beginning the school year with a visit to your child’s pediatrician is a positive step toward a healthy and successful school year and good health for life.
Annual physicals, also known as “wellness exams”, “well child checks” or “annual exams” are an opportunity for the child, parent and pediatrician to discuss a variety of topics and to address any questions or concerns.
Depending on your child’s age, a typical wellness exam or physical will usually include evaluation and or discussion of your child’s:
- Overall growth (height, weight, blood pressure, vision screen, urine screen, head to toe exam),
- Overall development (cognitive, gross motor and fine motor skills and behavior),
- Medical history (chronic medical conditions, medications and immunization needs),
- Nutrition (diet habits and recommendations),
- Sleep habits (sleep recommendations for specific lifestyle and activity levels),
- Safety (appropriate safety measures during leisure activities and day to day life),
- Social issues (balancing homework with extracurricular activities and, when appropriate, puberty, sex, and drugs).
Parents are encouraged to call early to schedule these annual exams and make a list of any questions or concerns you would like to discuss.
Beware of sports physicals advertised at discount rates. While these abbreviated exams usually satisfy the requirements of the schools by releasing your child to participate in sporting activities, they are often too brief to catch potential health problems and they don’t do justice to your child’s overall health and well being.
Most, but not all health plans cover these types of visits, however restrictions may apply. We recommend contacting your health insurance provider in advance to learn what your child’s specific benefits are for these important exams.